It's been an ugly month for housing data - new- and existing-home sales have slumped, homebuyer confidence has collapsed, mortgage applications have crashed, home prices are accelerating at a record pace, and even homebuilder confidence is starting to ebb.
The last man standing for bulls to pin their hopes on and ignore everything else was today's Pending Home Sales which analysts expected to drop 1.0% MoM in May (after a 4.4% drop in April). Sure enough, pending home sales (which everyone will now argue is forward looking) ripped 8.0% higher MoM - the biggest jump in almost a year.
Compared with a year earlier, contract signings were up almost 14% on an unadjusted basis.
"May's strong increase in transactions – following April's decline, as well as a sudden erosion in home affordability – was indeed a surprise," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist.
"The housing market is attracting buyers due to the decline in mortgage rates, which fell below 3%, and from an uptick in listings."
He added that buyer interest remains robust, helped by recent stock market gains.
Pending home sales increased across all U.S. regions last month, with the Northeast and West posting the largest gains.
Northeast up 15.5% m/m; April fell 12.9%
Midwest up 6.7% m/m; April rose 3.3%
South up 4.9% m/m; April fell 5.9%
West up 10.9% m/m; April fell 2.6%
Spot the odd one out?
Just remember, these are May numbers and mortgage apps have plunged since this.